Artists imitate abstractly

Russell Anglin

I greatly enjoyed my trip to Tucumcari Art Space Sunday to see what different artists in the area have been up to. I was pleased to find we have a number of people in our own backyard who express themselves through various media and do a good job at it, too.

It also got me thinking about why art is done in the first place. When the question is asked, it seems kind of silly, but I think it is truly difficult to answer definitively.

Some cases are easier to understand than others. Seeing a painter’s painting or eating a chef’s dish makes the idea of art seem sensible, while watching a mime mime just makes me wonder, why do these people do this?

From mimes to musicians, I think the artistic impulse almost has to involve some impulse to torture one’s self if he or she takes art seriously and wants to do a good job at it. So much art has been done already and the bar has been raised so high over the ages that you’re really going to have to put yourself out to produce anything worthwhile.

Maybe I misunderstand how true artists actually think. All of the artists I spoke to Sunday seemed to enjoy their processes of creation, though every one of them had invested some years into honing their particular skills.

I have no such patience when it comes to the visual arts. My parents, or maybe grandparents or someone else, once gave me this neat instructional book on how to draw Marvel comic book superheroes. The book taught that method where you draw the oval-shaped head, divide it into four parts and fill out the rest until a lifelike face suddenly appears.

Rhianna, my sister, sat with me one afternoon and we doodled away to the book’s instruction. She took to comic book drawing rather quickly while I simply gave up after about half an hour. I think I would have stuck with it longer if her drawings did not make mine look so laughable. I guess I could have called my not-so-captivating renderings of Wolverine “abstract” and argued that anyone who did not like them did not truly understand art.

Too late for that. I guess I will just apply the same critical technique to my weekly opinion columns. Did this one bore you? My apologies. You must not understand abstract opinion columns.